Insurance was designed centuries ago to protect investments, like homes, from the financial impacts of unexpected loss. The financial security insurance provides, was and still is, fundamental to homeowners’ way of life. However, the value chain became broken when the industry did not evolve at the pace of its consumers. This has left modern insurance buyers dissatisfied with the customer experience, the pricing, and the products.
The first InsurTechs sparked a movement toward digital-first insurance experiences that are more in line with what consumers have come to expect from the providers they choose to do business with. This disruptive approach has garnered the interest of consumers and investors alike over the past decade. While these insurance innovators made significant strides in the digitization of the industry, they did not understand the complexities of insurance and not one has achieved the profitability or financial strength needed to fulfill their purpose.
Enter Slide. Slide was introduced to this dynamic market in 2021 as a disruptor to the disruptor – its approach is so unique that it is being lauded as the next generation of InsurTech. In its first year, Slide has grown to be one of the largest P&C InsurTechs in the nation by revenue and is the first to be profitable. Propelled by the never give up attitude of its Founder and CEO, Bruce Lucas, the company marries deep technology, data science, and insurance expertise to achieve what was previously perceived as impossible.
Bruce is recognized as a leading InsurTech influencer for his expertise in using Big Data and cutting-edge technology to revolutionize all facets of the insurance process, including operations, claims, underwriting, and the experiences of customers and agents. We, at CIOLook, had the privilege to have an interview with this maverick of the InsurTech industry.
Below are the excerpts from the interview:
Bruce, please brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at Slide. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today?
My career has been full of twists and turns. I started in the insurance industry ten years ago with no experience. I had to learn insurance, reinsurance, risk management, claims, underwriting, customer service, managed repair, public markets, capital management, hurricane management, and how to function with little to no sleep. The biggest obstacle for me was learning how to empower and trust my senior team to make the right decisions.
In my early days, I was a roadblock, and everything had to flow through me, which made rapid growth difficult. When I adopted a collaborative management process, I not only empowered the management team to be leaders, but I was also able to scale the company at an incredible rate. You have to learn the balance between grabbing the reigns and letting go.
Tell us more about Slide and its mission and vision in the modern InsurTech sector.
I want to change the face of insurance as we know it. The future of every business is technology-driven, especially insurance. The industry has been slow to modernize, and it no longer fits the wants and needs of the consumer.
Slide strives to create a modern user experience, using Big Data-driven underwriting, at a fair price for our customers. I want to make insurance intuitive and affordable.
Enlighten us on how you have impacted the InsurTech sector through your expertise in the market.
My niche is homeowner’s insurance. Throughout my career, I’ve changed the perceptions related to growth, profitability, risk management, and M&A. In just a few short years at Heritage Insurance, my last start-up venture, I created the fastest growing insurer in the U.S. two years in a row. During my tenure, I did more M&A than any other coastal CEO, took the company public in two years, grew revenue to over $1 billion per year, and was profitable every year. Slide is off to an even faster start and we are proving that insurance does not need to be slow-paced and unprofitable.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your Slide.
Slide has five core values that are lived out daily:
- Slide it Forward. We adopt a charitable cause every quarter and the Slide team around the country participates supporting the cause.
- Keep it Real. Our team members are encouraged to always be honest and forthright. We believe that trust must be earned and maintained – whether it be a fellow team member or a policyholder.
- Be an Intrapreneur. Every team member is empowered to take charge of their domain and get creative in the solutions they bring to the table. We operate with a “best idea wins” philosophy.
- Empower Differences. We hire for diversity of thought and give space for everyone to learn, grow, lead, and unite around our vision.
- Enjoy the Journey. Work should be fun! We invest in events and celebrations to ensure our employees have time to do what they love and love what they do.
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?
We are using a $5 Trillion TIV data set and 20 years of historical claims information to better understand risk selection and pricing. Our industry-leading data gives Slide an insurmountable advantage over our InsurTech peers, and sets is the foundation upon which we built our proprietary underwriting AI. The combination of Big Data and underwriting AI allows Slide to make better-informed decisions relating to risk selection and pricing.
What change would you like to bring to the InsurTech sector if given a chance?
Prospective-based underwriting! I’m not afraid to be contrarian, the entire industry has it wrong. They are using retrospective data from as much as two years ago to price a policy today. In an inflationary market, you are always underwriting at a loss and the old underwriting methods no longer work. The future of insurance is prospective underwriting that looks at loss costs for the next 12 months and adjusts the price of each policy accordingly.
What, according to you, could be the next significant change in the InsurTech sector? How is Slide preparing to be a part of that change?
The next significant step forward is AI-based underwriting and decision-making. Slide is at the forefront of this trend and has developed cutting-edge underwriting AI that is capable of making point-of-sale underwriting and pricing decisions.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for Slide?
My five-year goal is to have $1 billion in premium and continued profitability. My long-term goal is to make Slide a household name in the insurance industry, where we are known for ease of use and fair prices.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the InsurTech sector?
If you want something bad enough, you have to work and hustle to make it happen. Take the time to learn the business and what is required to be successful. There is a lot of ground to cover – Dream BIG and swing for the fences.